House poised to impeach Trump for a 2nd time

Trump would make history as the only US president to be impeached twice.

January 13, 2021, 9:30 AM

The U.S. House is poised to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time on Wednesday for "incitement of insurrection," exactly one week after a violent siege on the U.S. Capitol left five people dead.

House Democrats have the votes to impeach Trump, who will become the first and only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

The House began considering the article of impeachment on Wednesday morning, with debate and a final vote set for later in the day, one week before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Democrat Rep. Jim McGovern, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, setting up a preliminary vote on the terms of the debate, called the Capitol a "crime scene" and the rioters "traitors" in an assault instigated by Trump.

Republican Rep. Tom Cole, called Jan. 6 the "darkest day" of his long career in Washington, but said Democrats, instead of promoting unity, are looking to "divide us further" by pursuing Trump's impeachment.

In a turn of events, at least five House Republicans have announced they too will vote to impeach Trump, even though no Republicans supported the effort during Trump's first impeachment proceedings related to the Ukraine matter in 2019.

"There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the President," GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney said in a statement Tuesday. She is the No. 3 Republican in the House and is a member of leadership.

Supporters of President Donald Trump occupy the Capitol Building in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.
Thomas P. Costello/USA Today via Reuters

GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, John Katko of New York, Herrera Beutler of Washington and Fred Upton of Michigan also announced their support of the article of impeachment late Tuesday.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection," Kinzinger said in a statement.

Katko said in a statement: "To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy. For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this President."

Democrats formally introduced their impeachment resolution Monday, charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection" after he told his supporters to march on the Capitol.

President Donald Trump speaks after touring a section of the border wall in Alamo, Texas, Jan, 12, 2021.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The House began considering the article of impeachment on Wednesday morning, with debate and a final vote set for later in the day.

The vote will take place exactly one week before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The measure says that Trump has "demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law."

The impeachment article also cited Trump's call with the Georgia Republican secretary of state where he urged him to "find" enough votes for Trump to win the state.

It also cited the Constitution's 14th Amendment, noting that it "prohibits any person who has 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion against' the United States" from holding office.

House GOP leadership said they would not encourage members to vote for or against Democrats' impeachment push, according to House leadership aides.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has already announced that he does not support impeachment, but sources told ABC News that it's possible at least a handful of Republicans will support it in the end.

On a private House GOP-wide conference call that lasted roughly two hours on Monday evening, Cheney told members that they should "vote their conscience" and not as a "political vote," sources familiar confirmed.

Late Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced nine House impeachment managers who would oversee a possible Senate trial.

"Tonight, I have the solemn privilege of naming the Managers of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump," Pelosi said in a statement. "It is their constitutional and patriotic duty to present the case for the President's impeachment and removal. They will do so guided by their great love of country, determination to protect our democracy and loyalty to our oath to the Constitution. Our Managers will honor their duty to defend democracy For The People with great solemnity, prayerfulness and urgency."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wears a protective mask while walking to her office from the House Floor at the Capitol, Jan. 12, 2021.
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

In the Senate, Trump appeared to be losing the support of the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell had indicated to associates that he believed impeaching Trump could make it easier to rid the Republican Party of the president and Trumpism. McConnell has not said if he would vote to convict or whether he'd hold a trial in the Senate, ABC News has learned.

It's unclear at this point when Democratic leaders would send the article of impeachment to the Senate. McConnell has said he won't bring back the Senate from recess before Jan. 19, a day before Biden's inauguration.

Late Tuesday, House Democrats passed another resolution that called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

Just ahead of the final vote, Pence announced in a statement that he would not follow through with Democrats' request of invoking the 25th Amendment, and urged Congress to "avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment."

"I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution," Pence said in a statement.

Trump on Tuesday lashed out at the impeachment effort by House Democrats, claiming "it's causing tremendous anger" and "danger to our country."

"As far as this is concerned, we want no violence -- never violence," Trump said outside the White House before departing for Texas, facing reporters for the first time since his supporters rioted last Wednesday. "On the impeachment, it's really a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics. It's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous. This impeachment is causing tremendous anger, and you're doing it, and it's really a terrible thing that they're doing."

ABC News' Benjamin Siegel and Trish Turner contributed to this report.

This report was featured in the Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.

"Start Here" offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, the ABC News app or wherever you get your podcasts.

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